May 17, 2012

Sometimes, you have to wonder about people.  Here it is today, a rainy day.  You know the kind – lots of rain, slippery roads, hard to see, kind of dark for midday, and yet people still believe they can drive their scooters and other motorized vehicles at breakneck speeds.

I remember a few years ago (and I use the term ‘few’ loosely), we did an experiment in science class involving oil and water.  That was the first realization we all had, that oil and water don’t mix.  Anyone who has had to wash dishes after a big family gathering meal, made a salad dressing or cake mix from scratch, will know that oil and water just aren’t the marrying kind.  It takes a lot to get them together, and then a lot more to keep them together.

Well folks, believe it or not, rain is actually water.  The roads you drive on, are made of an oil product.  The tires on your vehicles are made of an oil product.  Besides the fact that the road is an oil product, it is also a hard surface.  The rain doesn’t soak into the road.  Nor does it seep into your tires.  The rain just sits on the roadways, especially where there isn’t proper drainage.  The result is a thin layer of water between two layers of oil.  Thus, we refer to this colloquially as a ‘slippery situation’.

I always thought that we Canadians were crazy and risky drivers.  What with all the rain in the spring and fall, snow and ice in the winter, extremely foggy days (just ask anyone in Vancouver!!), and yet there are still those nut jobs out there who believe they are impervious to the weather.  Either that, or they’re practicing Buddhism!

I believed this until I drove in the United States several times.  Then I kind of figured it must be a North American thing.  All the excess land that Canada and the U.S. has, gives people the idea that it’s okay to drive crazy, and then, crazier when the weather is lousy.

I mean, when it is a miserable rainy day, or freezing snow, who doesn’t want to get home to the warmth and dryness?  Personally, even after reading the handbook about driving, and learning to drive, and then the reality of actually driving lousy weather, it sort of struck me that the handbook made sense.  When the weather is lousy, slow down a bit.  It will take longer to come to a stop, and besides, if you’re in a car, it’s not like your going to get any wetter by the rain or snow?

Until I came to Taiwan.

I think the mentality here at times is that, because there are only a few days of the year where the weather is not great.  So, people tend to drive more erratic and  reckless as a normal routine part of their day.  It’s like, they need to be where they are going, 10 minutes ago!  When it rains, well, then because of the less than 50% of the population that does slow down a bit, that just makes these others trips take more time.  What kills me though, is the jackass who zips and zig-zags in and around traffic, while I maintain a steady pace, only to meet this nincompoop at the next red light anyway!

I just don’t understand the ‘need for speed’.  By how do you change the mind and attitude of people who don’t care about anyone else on the road?  And since the mayor of Tainan announced a few months ago that, in a nutshell, there were basically no penalties for ‘minor’ traffic violations, it just seems that driving in Tainan has become a circus adventure.

So, only a couple more days!!

I also noticed that the last couple of weeks or so, Giraffe has been a bit active.  After a couple of questions, I was told that this weekend (Sunday) is the GNEPT (Giraffe National English Proficiency Test).  This is a nation-wide test among all the Giraffe locations in Taiwan.  I’m not sure of the exact details, but basically, any of the students who wish to participate in this test, get together on Sunday at a location somewhere in Tainan, write the test, and a few weeks later, receive an award for taking part in the GNEPT.

As I have no active part in these tests, I am ‘out of the loop’.  That’s okay.  At our school, I’ll probably be the only one who won’t be at the test!  I’ll probably be continuing the renovations, waiting patiently for word of the contest winners for the trip to France.

Well, I was little busy today, so that’s why the entry is a bit late today.  No problem.  I’ll catch up over the weekend!

That’s it, that’s all… for now!


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